Mum receives council apology

By Robyn Rosen, April 7, 2011
Maxine Jones with son Daniel, who is now a pupil at Delamere in Manchester

Maxine Jones with son Daniel, who is now a pupil at Delamere in Manchester

The mother of an autistic child has received compensation and an apology from Hackney Council for lack of support.

Five years ago, Maxine Jones told the council that her son Daniel's school, Simon Marks Jewish Primary, could not provide the care he needed.

"I thought I would have a breakdown," she recalled. "His behaviour was getting worse, he wasn't toilet trained, he wouldn't eat, he couldn't talk. He would hit me and his sister and had no sense of proportion.

"He needed help from the moment he woke up until he went to bed, which I couldn't give. As much as I love my son, I couldn't live like that anymore. I was losing my sanity. He needed specialist people to teach and train him."

The single mum successfully appealed against the council's decision to keep Daniel at Simon Marks and he was placed at Manchester Jewish special needs school Delamere Forest.

During the proceedings, it was agreed the council would continue to provide support for Daniel during time away from Delamere.

But Hackney later informed Ms Jones that it would be closing her son's case, claiming there was "no role" for its social care services.

I was losing my sanity. He needed specialist teaching

She enlisted the help of Rabbi Michael Bernstein, director of Embee Special Education Consultancy, which provides advocacy for parents of special needs children.

The council's children's social care department investigated and last month demanded a full assessment of the holiday support requirements of Daniel, now 13, and awarded Ms Jones £500 compensation.

Toni Dawodu, head of Hackney's disabled children services, offered "sincere apologies" in a letter to Ms Jones."I understand that this has caused you considerable anxiety. There are lessons which we have learnt about how to avoid future failures in communication between social work staff and families."

Ms Jones said: "I'm very pleased that Hackney has acknowledged what they did but I want other vulnerable people to know what has happened here. Hackney needs to change its ways."

Last updated: 1:58pm, April 7 2011